STRONGER FOR SCOTLAND EX 3 8 Elliot Street, Glasgow G 170 3 Jackson’s Entry, Edinburgh EH8 8PJ. Printed by McAllister Litho Glasgow Ltd, Manifesto 2015 Promoted by Peter Murrell on behalf of the Scottish National Party, both at
Nicola Sturgeon - pictured here embracing a young supporter on the general election trail - has pledged to be the most accessible first minister ever. The SNP leader stands out in personally engaging with people on social media and during campaign events. She’s a regular tweeter and can be found at @NicolaSturgeon
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Follow theSNP My vow is to make Scotland stronger at Westminster. At this election, we have the opportunity to shake up And we want the precious resources of our country to the out of touch Westminster system so that it serves be invested in building a better future for our children, Scotland better. not on a new generation of nuclear weapons. A vote for the SNP on May 7th is a vote for MPs who The SNP will never put the Tories into power. will always stand up for Scotland's best interests. Instead, if there is an anti-Tory majority after the election, It is a vote to make Scotland's voice heard at Westminster we will offer to work with other parties to more loudly than it has ever been heard before. And it keep the Tories out. is a vote for more progressive politics. And we will then use our influence to demand that The SNP will use our influence at Westminster to help Labour delivers the real change that people want and deliver positive change for the benefit of ordinary need - instead of just being a carbon copy of the Tories. people, not just in Scotland, but across the UK. A vote for the SNP will make Scotland's voice heard - We propose a real alternative to the pain of austerity, loudly and clearly. an end to unfair policies like the Bedroom Tax, a higher minimum wage and protection for our NHS and vital And it will help deliver new, better and more progressive public services. politics at Westminster for everyone. Instead of even deeper Westminster spending cuts, My vow is to make Scotland stronger at Westminster. we want to see more investment in our economy, With your support, we can secure a better future for to create more and better paid jobs. you, your family and Scotland. 03
WHO CARES MOST FOR OUR HEALTH SERVICE?
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Download theSNPApp Everyone agrees Westminster needs to change. An end to austerity The SNP is ready to play a constructive role, SNP MPs will demand an end to austerity. We oppose further to challenge the old order with new and spending cuts and propose modest spending increases - of progressive ideas. 0.5 per cent above inflation - in each year of the next Parliament. It’s time to put fairness and equality back at Under our plan, the deficit will still reduce each year, but there the heart of government. will be at least an additional £140 billion across the UK to invest in skills and infrastructure, in our NHS and other public With a strong SNP team at Westminster we can use our influence to end the needless pain of services, and in measures to protect the vulnerable and lift Tory cuts. And we can campaign to secure more people out of poverty. money for health, education and childcare. We will also vote for the following revenue raising measures - Here are our key priorities to make Scotland the reintroduction of the 50 pence top tax rate, a tax on stronger at Westminster: bankers' bonuses, a bank levy, a mansion tax, a crackdown on tax avoidance, the abolition of 'non-dom' status and reversal of the married couple’s tax allowance. Increased NHS funding We will meet the NHS funding challenge laid down in the report of the NHS Chief Executive in England – the Stevens Report - and vote for an increase in NHS spending across the UK of £24 billion by 2020-21 - £9.5 billion above inflation. This will deliver a total boost to the NHS Scotland budget of £2 billion by 2020-21. SNP MPs will also vote against any further privatisation of the NHS in England and back any moves to restore it to a fully public service. Continues on page 8 Opposite: The future of Scotland’s NHS is at the heart of the general election with SNP calls for an extra £2 billion for the health budget. 05
Aberdeen North Kirsty Blackman • Aberdeen South Callum McCaig • Aird
rthshire Pete Wishart • Ross, Skye & Lochaber Ian Blackford • Rutherglen &
shire & Kincardine Stuart Donaldson • West Dunbartonshire Martin Docherty
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Fairer pensions Reducing child poverty We will support a single-tier pension of £160 per week and It is estimated that an additional one million children across vote to continue the triple lock, guaranteeing that pensions the UK will be living in poverty by 2020. That is unacceptable will always rise by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent - and would mean an additional 100,000 children in Scotland whichever is the highest. We will also vote to protect the growing up in poverty. Winter Fuel Allowance. That is why we will vigorously oppose plans for further cuts We will oppose the abolition of Savings Credit – introduced to in Child Benefit and Tax Credits - allowing these payments reward people for saving for their pension - and we will seek a to erode in value simply pushes more children into poverty. review of plans to increase the state pension age beyond 66. Instead, we will vote to increase benefits at least in line with Scrapping Trident CPI inflation, to ensure that the incomes of the poorest in We will oppose plans for a new generation of Trident nuclear society do not fall even further behind the cost of living. weapons and seek to build an alliance in the House of Commons against Trident renewal. We will vote for the £100 And we will support an increase in free childcare to 30 hours billion that the Westminster parties plan to spend on Trident per week by 2020. renewal to be invested instead in better childcare, education and the NHS. More support for disabled people and carers We will vote to block plans to cut Disability Living Allowance Better paid jobs by £3 billion across the UK by 2017-18. Scotland’s share We will vote to increase the minimum wage to £8.70 by of that cut is around £310 million per year. 2020. We will also support measures to extend the Living Wage across the UK. The Scottish Government already pays These cuts would see more than 100,000 disabled people the Living Wage to all of its own employees and to those in Scotland – and one million across the UK – losing over covered by its pay policy - we will call on, and vote for, £1,100 a year in the support that they rely on to live the UK government to adopt the same policy. independent lives. We will use our influence to make sure that these cuts do not proceed and that disabled people are given the support they deserve. We will also support an increase in Carer’s Allowance so that it matches Jobseekers' Allowance. Those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance will benefit by almost £600 per year. 08
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Discover voteSNP.com Scrapping the Bedroom Tax Immigration policy that works for Scotland We will vote for the immediate abolition of the unfair Diversity is one of Scotland's great strengths. Effective Bedroom Tax. Abolishing the Bedroom Tax would mean immigration controls are important, but we must also that the £35 million a year that the Scottish Government remember that those who have come to Scotland from is spending to compensate those affected by it would be other countries make a significant contribution to our economy and our society. available to spend on other priorities. We would invest that money in measures to tackle - and eventually eradicate - We will support sensible immigration policies that meet food poverty. our economic needs and, as a priority, we will seek the reintroduction of the post study work visa, so that those Investing in education we have helped educate are able, if they so choose, We will guarantee the continuation of free university to make a contribution to our economy. education in Scotland and support the reduction of tuition fees across the UK. More affordable housing There is a substantial shortfall of affordable houses for rent We will extend the availability of Educational Maintenance across the UK. Allowance in Scotland to an additional 10,000 school pupils and 12,000 part time college students. The Scottish Government is on track to meet the commitment to 30,000 new affordable homes by 2016, but more needs to be Opposing withdrawal from the European Union done. We will back investment in an annual house building At least 330,000 Scottish jobs – around one in seven of target across the UK of 100,000 affordable homes a year. all jobs - are dependent on our membership of the single We will also continue our support for Help to Buy and shared market. That is why we will oppose a referendum on equity to help people get a foot on the housing ladder. membership of the EU. Being part of Europe is good for business and it supports jobs in Scotland and across the UK. A focus on job creation We will support targeted reductions to employer’s National If an in/out EU referendum does go ahead, we will seek to Insurance contributions to support job creation and the amend the legislation to ensure that no constituent part of extension of the Living Wage. the UK can be taken out of the EU against its will. We will propose a 'double majority' rule - meaning that unless We will support an increase in the Employment Allowance England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each vote from £2,000 per business per year to £6,000 per business to leave the EU, the UK would remain a member state. per year, reducing the cost of creating and maintaining jobs. 09
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 We will support this change being phased in over the Ensuring equality four-year period to 2019-20. We believe that women should be properly represented in public life. We will push for 50:50 representation on public Fair work and private boards, and ensure that women are fairly treated In-work poverty is a modern day scandal that must be at work with action to secure equal pay and greater support tackled. We support increases in the personal tax allowance for working parents with increased paternity leave. but will also back an increase in the Work Allowance – the amount people are allowed to earn before their benefit is Democratic reform cut – of 20 per cent. This will encourage people back into Westminster badly needs to be reformed. An unelected work by reducing the amount the state claws back – making second chamber is not acceptable in a modern democracy. work pay more. Those with no democratic mandate should not be writing the laws of the land and SNP MPs will vote for the abolition We will also support tough action to end exploitative zero of the House of Lords. hours contracts. We will also vote for the replacement of the first past the Action on energy bills post voting system with proportional representation. We will support lower energy bills for consumers by pushing for the Energy Company Obligation to be funded through Delivering Home Rule for Scotland general taxation and not as a levy on energy bills. We will The SNP will always support independence - but that is not also support new powers to make sure that energy companies what this election is about. It is about making Scotland stronger. pass on the benefits of lower prices to consumers. We will also press for a change to the transmission charging We will use the influence of SNP votes at Westminster system that is penalising Scottish generators and threatening to ensure that promises made during the referendum the future of Longannet power station. are delivered. Greater care for our environment We will demand, firstly, that the proposals of the Smith We will call on, and vote for, the UK Government to adopt Commission are delivered quickly and in full. Scotland’s ambitious carbon reduction targets. We believe that these proposals do not go far enough to We will also continue to support a moratorium on fracking. honour the promises made during the referendum. 10
We will seek agreement that the Scottish Parliament should An end to Tory government move to full financial responsibility. If there is an anti-Tory majority in the House of Commons, we will vote in a motion of confidence against a Tory As implementation of the Calman Commission proposals government getting off the ground. has demonstrated, the transition to full fiscal responsibility - and agreement of the detailed fiscal framework that would underpin it - would take a number of years. SNP MPs will work to secure the best deal for Scotland. In the meantime, we will prioritise devolution of powers over employment policy, including the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy - the powers we need to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty. LET’S LOCK OUT THE TORIES. The SNP is offering to work with other parties to lock the Tories out of Downing Street and bring an end to the needless pain of Tory cuts.
The SNP is the third largest party in the UK following a surge in new members since the referendum. 80,000 have joined since September 2014, Mhairi Black Michelle Thomson with total membership now One of the consistent features that I have My background is not in politics but in witnessed growing up has been the level business. However, I believe we need over 105,000. The SNP’s 59 of poverty and injustice that ordinary fundamental change at Westminster and candidates includes prominent people are forced to endure. I want to help shape that change. Let's Yes campaigners and others Westminster has continually let us end the old Westminster way of doing who have only just joined down. I truly believe that the only way things, which has caused misery for to bring the powers we were promised, Scotland's most vulnerable. We have the party. Here are some and the social justice that Scotland so the opportunity to chart a different of their stories: desperately needs, is to have a strong economic path - one which benefits group of SNP MPs at Westminster to the whole of society. Scotland's voice ensure our voices are heard. can and must be heard. Main photo: Nicola Sturgeon introduces candidates to the SNP's biggest ever conference in 12 March 2015, with over 3,000 people attending the two-day event in Glasgow.
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tommy Sheppard Philippa Whitford As a mother of four, I believe our young I was a Labour member for 20 years I know how precious the NHS is through people are Scotland's greatest resource and like many former Labour supporters, my work as a consultant breast cancer but poverty is damaging the potential I've joined the SNP because I believe it's surgeon. That’s why I am taking a stand of too many of them. Hope for the future now the best way to build a better, fairer to protect Scotland's NHS from the must be matched by the ambitions of country in Scotland. The more SNP seats privatisation agenda of the Westminster our elected representatives. We must we have, the more we can force Labour parties. To tackle the poverty which work to build communities that offer the to be different from the Tories. That's a underlies much of our ill health, SNP next generation the best possible start in lot better than leaving them to their MPs will oppose further austerity cuts life. That’s why we need an end to Tory own devices. and seek the powers to set a decent and Labour cuts. The SNP provides a minimum wage and protect real alternative to that Westminster our vulnerable citizens. austerity consensus. 13
MORE SNP SEATS. MORE POWER FOR SCOTLAND.
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MANIFESTO FOR A STRONGER SCOTLAND. Manifesto 2015
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 3 0 PRIORITIES FOR A FAIRER AND MORE With greater influence for Scotland at Westminster and SUCCESSFUL SCOTLAND new powers for our parliament in Edinburgh, there is so much more we can achieve for the people of Scotland. Whether in Scotland or at Westminster, our focus will be SNP MPs will: on growing Scotland’s economy and making life better for people across our country. This is what Make sure Westminster works better for the underpins our policies on public finances, on education, people of Scotland health, housing and social justice and our support for the • The biggest threat to Scotland’s public services and Scottish Parliament having more of the powers it needs. our social fabric is the ongoing Tory and Labour We want more people in rewarding, well paid work. We obsession with austerity cuts to vital public spending. That is why we propose responsible increases in want stronger local economies, with job opportunities public spending. for our young people close to home so we can retain • We will support increases in infrastructure the important links of family and community that add to investment as part of our plans to generate new the strength and well-being of our society. jobs and support higher levels of growth, and we will work to open access to finances for businesses But this is not economic growth for its own sake. It must looking to expand. be sustainable and with the benefits shared across • Our approach is to secure a fair deal for all with those society. It will be wealth creation so we can, once and for on the very highest incomes contributing a little bit all, address the unacceptable levels of inequality in more to ensure that we can continue to deliver Scottish society. As we set out in this manifesto, we will universal, free public services and protect the most be able to build Scotland’s success and deliver on our vulnerable from the impacts of poverty. ambitions by harnessing the energy of our people, by building our skills and using them to the full, and by Support the Scottish Government making the most of our nation’s great natural wealth • We back the planned expansion of childcare with and many competitive and comparative advantages. 30-hours a week of free nursery education for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds, providing the The more SNP MPs that are elected to Westminster, the best possible start in life for younger Scots and louder Scotland's voice will be in the decisions that are making life easier for their parents. taken there - and that means we can secure the best • We support a big increase in NHS spending in deal for Scotland and a more progressive approach for Scotland, and across the UK, to enable the Scottish the benefit of people across the UK. SNP MPs, backed government to continue improving our health service. by hundreds of thousands of new supporters - many Our plans will mean £2 billion more for our NHS by voting SNP at Westminster for the very first time - can 2020-21. make a real difference to the direction our country takes • We will also use our votes at Westminster to protect the in the years ahead. health service in all parts of the UK from privatisation.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 04 • We agree that we need to maximise opportunities for our young people and support an increase to 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships and the expansion of the Education Maintenance Allowance to an extra 22,000 school pupils and students. An approach to the public finances that works We will: • Propose different choices on spending so we can protect fundamental public services and ensure irreparable damage isn’t done to the fabric of society. This will allow modest increases in public spending in each year of the next parliament – it will also see deficit fall every year as a share of income. • Argue for a fairer approach on taxation, with those with the very most contributing a little bit more • Focus on investment to support economic growth and the creation of a more productive, high-skill, high-wage economy • Seek to enshrine in law key principles of future financial management, including elimination of the deficit and balanced ‘current account’ spending by stimulating growth in the economy, as part of a medium term strategy to ensure prudent levels of debt are achieved • Support the creation of a sovereign wealth fund so that we create a financial buffer for the future, protecting public finances in times of crisis
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 05 BETTER OFF WITH THE SNP • For pensioners – we want a single-tier pension set at £160 per week, with the triple-lock protection We are working hard to make life better for people continuing. This will guarantee that the value of the across Scottish society and the plans we set out in this state pension is fully protected. manifesto will see some new and important gains. • For no new nuclear weapons – we continue to • For our NHS – we’ll support a funding package for oppose nuclear weapons and will seek to block a the NHS, that would see spending in Scotland rise by new generation of nuclear weapons, saving as much a total of £2 billion by 2020-21, helping us to deliver as £4 billion a year in the mid-2020s. the world-class care that people in Scotland rightly • For a greener Scotland – we will continue to support expect. a moratorium on fracking. • For fair pay – we’ll back an increase in the minimum • For our veterans – we believe that those who have wage to £8.70 by 2020, making a quarter of a million been injured in the service of our country should get people in Scotland better off by up to £4,000 a year. the full value of any war disablement pension and we • For hard-pressed households – we will support will work to ensure that it is not treated as income in lower energy bills for consumers by pushing for the the assessment of entitlement to other benefits. Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to be funded • For our cities – we believe that City Deals should be through general taxation and tough new powers to made available to all Scotland’s cities, in addition to make sure energy companies pass on lower energy Glasgow, bringing substantial new investment to prices to consumers, saving households around £100 places that are key drivers of growth in Scotland. on energy bills based on recent wholesale prices. • For our farming community – we will look to secure • For more jobs and growing businesses – we will a fair share of the UK’s CAP convergence uplift, which seek seed-fund capitalisation of the Scottish Business comes to the UK as a result of Scotland’s low hectare Development Bank, enabling new investment in rates. Scottish business growth and innovation, helping • For workers in the oil & gas sector – we’ll keep the create thousands of new jobs pressure on the UK Treasury to do all it can to protect • For people approaching retirement – we’ll seek a jobs and investment in the oil and gas industry in light review of the planned increase in the retirement age of lower global oil prices and will work to increase from 66 to 67, so that people in Scotland, who have internationalisation opportunities for Scotland’s oil paid in to a state pension all their lives, don’t lose out. and gas industry • For people moving into work – we’ll vote for an • For a fairer Scotland – we’ll prioritise the immediate increase in the work allowance by 20 per cent, which scrapping of the Bedroom Tax and a halt to the roll means people moving in to work from benefits will out of Universal Credit and PIP. We’ll seek to reverse keep more of their income. the replacement of Disability Living Allowance by PIP • For unpaid carers – we propose an increase in carer’s and oppose the £3 billion cut in disability funding. In allowance to bring it in line with jobseeker’s addition, we will seek an urgent reform of the allowance, which will see over 100,000 unpaid carers conditionality and sanctions regime, to establish a in Scotland better off by almost £600 a year. fairer approach.
06 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 • For Scotland’s creative sector – we’ll seek increased • For an end to Tory rule – if there are more anti-Tory investment through BBC Scotland so that a fairer MPs than Tory MPs in the House of Commons the share of the licence fee is spent in Scotland, giving a only way the Conservatives get back in to £100 million boost to our creative sector. government is if the Labour party let them. The SNP • For local job creators – we will continue the Small will work with others to lock the Tories out of Business Bonus and back reduced Employers’ NI government. contributions to support job creation. • For safer communities – we’ll continue to deliver • For greater equality - we will demand early action 1,000 extra police officers, a policy that has helped on equal pay audits for big companies to increase the deliver record low crime levels in our communities. pressure to deliver equal pay for women across the We’ll also press for the revenue from court fines to be UK. We'll also support the abolition of VAT on sanitary retained in Scotland and for Police Scotland and our products. Fire and Rescue Service to receive the same VAT • For young Scots – we’ll deliver 30,000 Modern exemption as other forces, with the money reinvested Apprenticeships each year and continue to keep in safer communities. university education free. We will also back an • For a new northern focus – we’ll back budget plans increase in the minimum wage rate for 18 to 21 year to invest more in the infrastructure of Scotland and olds to £6.86 by 2020 and believe the same rate the north of England, including the commissioning of should be paid to apprentices. We will also support an high speed rail linking Glasgow, Edinburgh and the increase in the rate for 16 to 18 year olds to £5.07. north of England. • For our planet - we will use our influence at • For young families – we will work towards an Westminster to ensure the UK matches, and supports, expansion in free nursery education, from 16 hours a Scotland’s ambitious commitments to carbon week to 30 hours, saving parents just under £2,000 reduction. per child per year by the end of the next Scottish • For future generations – we should have greater Parliament and giving thousands of young Scots a financial security in the years ahead and so will call for better start in life. a share of future revenues from our natural energy • For more homes – we will back plans for an annual resources to be saved in an energy fund. UK target of 100,000 affordable homes and use • For low-income households – we’ll back an increase additional capital investment to deliver a further of at least the cost of living in welfare benefits, such as expansion of house-building in Scotland, including child benefit, universal credit and disability benefits, affordable homes for purchase or rent. and also in tax credits. • For small businesses – we will press the UK government to introduce effective legal protections to ensure small businesses are paid on time.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 7 0 MAKING SCOTLAND’S VOICE HEARD Working for Scotland This election is an exciting opportunity for Scotland to Throughout this Parliament SNP MPs have worked deliver real change, here and across the UK. hard to take forward the priorities of people in Scotland. We’ve voted: At this election with every SNP seat, comes more power • against Tory plans, backed by Labour in January for Scotland. More power to pursue a real alternative to of this year, for an extra £30 billion of spending unfair cuts, an end to the Bedroom Tax, a higher cuts. A vote for the SNP in this election is the minimum wage and protection for our NHS and valued strongest possible vote against Westminster’s public services. austerity agenda • to block the replacement of Trident, which would We will invest in our economy to create more and better save as much as £100 billion over its lifetime, paid jobs. And we will oppose a new generation of money that we believe should be used for our nuclear weapons. health service and to educate Scotland’s children • against the abolition of the top rate of tax And we will stand up for Scotland's best interests. • against the privatisation of the Royal Mail We always do. • and to protect people from drilling under their homes without their permission, by opposing That’s why SNP MPs will vote against any measure at the Infrastructure Bill, and backing a moratorium Westminster that affects Scotland's interests or has the on fracking. effect of reducing Scotland’s funding. We believe in independence but that is not what this election is about. A vote for the SNP is a vote to rebalance the economic and political priorities of the UK. It is a vote for new, better and more progressive politics for everyone. It is a vote to make Scotland's voice heard.
08 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 A STRONGER VOICE AT WESTMINSTER government debt to a prudent level and to maintain a balanced budget on average over the medium term. An alternative to austerity cuts With enough SNP MPs in the House of Commons, we We need a proper fiscal framework based on proven can end the current austerity agenda and release new principles that have been successfully implemented investment in jobs and growth, in strengthening our elsewhere. This includes a commitment to reduce society and in protecting vital public services. overall government debt and move to a position of operating budget surpluses over the medium term. In SNP MPs will oppose austerity and never do a deal with addition, we believe fiscally responsible governments the Tories. If there is an anti-Tory majority of MPs, we will should establish a financial buffer against unforeseen vote to lock out the Tories from government. And we will future events. make sure any Labour government can’t forget Scotland. Quite simply, Scotland can get better government and We reject the current trajectory of spending, proposed real influence by voting for the SNP in May. by the UK government and the limited alternative proposed by the Labour Party. An approach to the public finances that works Our proposal would see public sector borrowing and The starting point for the next parliament and government public sector net debt falling in every year as a share of must be an approach to the public finances that works. national income. In total, over £140 billion of additional There can be no doubt, based on the Office for Budget public expenditure and investment would be available Responsibility’s figures and the targets set by the current during the next parliament, compared to current UK government itself, that George Osborne’s approach has government plans. failed on multiple counts, with borrowing rising substantial y. Indeed, net borrowing in this financial year has exceeded We will also look to release additional resources by backing the June 2010 forecast by around £50 billion. a series of revenue raising measures - the reintroduction of the 50p top tax rate, a tax on bankers' bonuses, a This is due, in large part, to a crucial weakness in the bank levy, a mansion tax, a crackdown on tax avoidance, economic recovery, in particular lower than anticipated the abolition of 'non dom' status, reversal of the married tax revenues in an economy that has become low couples' tax allowance, and a review of the pension tax wage and low reward for too many. At the same time, relief available to the wealthiest. taxes have been cut for those at the very top of the income scale. A greater focus on job creation and growth We need increased investment in economic growth and It is clear that a different way of doing things is needed - action to get more people into rewarding, sustainable, one that places greater emphasis on economic growth well-paid employment. As set out above, we propose and social solidarity, with a realistic target to reduce modest spending increases to invest in the economy,
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 09 enabling us to deliver a stronger fiscal performance over the medium-term. The more economic powers we have the more we can achieve A stronger economy is the essential underpinning Despite having limited powers, we have taken for deficit reduction in the UK, with higher levels of action to boost our economy and support growth delivering increased revenues and reducing employment. For example, at the height of the spending pressures. financial crisis, we were able to accelerate capital investment in ‘shovel ready’ projects and could More broadly, improvements to productivity would also take forward a range of innovative financing translate into big medium and long-term improvements mechanisms and get better value for money in the UK’s fiscal position. We believe that this should be a through the Scottish Futures Trust, meaning central focus for government policy over the next 5 years. more money was available for frontline, job creation projects. The key is to both protect and promote key sectors of the Scottish economy. The UK government has agreed In addition, our specific focus on youth to implement the key proposals put forward by the employment, with guarantees on access to Scottish Government and the oil and gas industry. education and training and a massive expansion of This is a welcome step, however, we will continue to Modern Apprenticeship places, and our support for closely monitor economic activity in the North Sea and small businesses with an extensive rates relief look for a prompt and effective response from the UK package (helping many survive the worst of the government so we can maximise the economic crisis) have made a difference for thousands of opportunity. people across Scotland. Action by the UK government was a necessary first step We’ve also made sure people have more money and will sit alongside the Scottish Government’s in their pockets, with the Council Tax frozen, real commitment to a new Oil and Gas Strategy, which will terms cuts in water bills and policies like free have a strong focus on Scotland’s oil and gas supply prescriptions providing a welcome boost for family chain, including ongoing skills development and incomes. Thanks to this approach, more money is opportunities for greater internationalisation of the sector. available to spend in local economies. We will also continue to push for the swift deployment As a result, we have reduced unemployment, of the new Oil and Gas Authority in Aberdeen. increased employment in Scotland and have a stronger record on youth employment than There are a number of additional steps we believe the UK. should be taken by the UK government, while they continue to hold the reserved responsibility, to boost
10 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Scotland’s economic performance. This includes We will also support steps to increase the capital additional capital investment to support sustainable and available to the Green Investment Bank and will ask the broad-based economic recovery and make the country next UK government to report on options including new as a whole more internationally competitive. borrowing powers for the bank. Investing in infrastructure We will also seek adequate transport infrastructure We firmly believe that additional investment in investment, with a particular aim of improving transport Scotland’s infrastructure, and that of the rest of the UK, and communication links across the north of these isles. is an important part of building the wider strength of our That includes connecting Scotland to HS2 as a priority, economy and society. Our proposals for additional with construction beginning in Scotland as well as expenditure in the next Parliament will include England, and a high speed connection between substantial new infrastructure investment. Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as part of Properly deployed, capital expenditure has the ability any high-speed rail network. In addition, we will seek to reduce inequalities by providing good, well paid additional investment to support a more rapid roll out of employment, with opportunities for the long-term superfast broadband and 4G across Scotland and to unemployed, for apprenticeships and for wider skills and support wider and affordable access to the internet in professional development. It also serves to expand the our most disadvantaged communities, and for a productive capacity of Scotland, making our economy Universal Service Obligation to be applied to telecoms more competitive, with improved connectivity and and broadband providers ensuring everyone is able infrastructure that is fit for the 21st century. to access the communications they need. The additional investment we seek should include We will back investment a house-building target across investment in our energy infrastructure so we can the UK of 100,000 affordable homes per year. continue to maximise renewables generation, in We are determined to use capital investment to create particular offshore. Current Westminster plans put at risk jobs, and support higher levels of economic growth. the creation of a strong domestic renewables industry, This additional investment would support at least including a sustainable supply chain, and threaten 6,500 jobs in the construction sector in Scotland. Scotland’s security of supply. We will, for example, press for further progress and a clear timescale for the delivery Supporting Scotland’s job creating businesses of the islands interconnector and reform of the We want to make it much easier for growing businesses transmission charging regime which could lead to the across Scotland to access finance and will look for an premature closure of Longannet power station. expansion of lending options, including peer-to-peer
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 11 lending and making it easier for new entrants to the generated in Scotland, which would bring a £100 million market, in particular to help with short term financing. boost to Scotland’s creative sector. We believe the UK government should be doing more to rebalance economic activity on these isles and so we will We support the creation of a Creative Content Fund for press for seed-fund capitalisation of the new Scottish the games industry to encourage the formation of new Business Development Bank, enabling new finance studios and also back the retention of the Video Games and investment for Scottish business to maximise job tax relief. We back industry calls for an increase in the creation and growth. SEIS investment limit and changes to the Shortage Occupation List to recognise specific skills needs in We support calls for more readily available export the sector. finance and believe the steps outlined in the Scottish Government’s updated Economic Strategy, with its focus Scotland needs an immigration policy suited to our on internationalisation, will boost export opportunities specific circumstances and needs. In particular, we wish for Scottish businesses and help increase the number of to see the reintroduction of the post-study work visa so Scottish exporters. students who have been educated in Scotland can spend 2 years working here after their studies and can We also believe that more should be done to help contribute to growing our economy. small businesses with cash flow and will press the UK government to introduce effective legal protections to We will examine proposals to maintain the Annual ensure small businesses are paid on time. We agree Investment Allowance at a stable rate and consider that small businesses should have rights within key whether it can be maintained at £500,000 and whether utility markets more akin to those of household it can be extended until the end of the next Parliament consumers. For our tourism sector, we will press for in 2020. This allowance supports investment in plant, the early devolution of Air Passenger Duty (APD) so machinery and premises and we believe business we can use this new power to encourage more direct deserves certainty to enable them to make longer-term flights to Scotland, with a reduction of 50 per cent and investment decisions. longer term plans to abolish APD completely. We will also support examining a reduction in VAT for the We will also support a phased increase in the hospitality sector, levelling the playing field with other Employment Allowance from £2,000 per business per EU nations and helping create as many as 10,000 year to £6,000 per business per year by 2019-20. This new jobs. will provide a boost to employment growth by reducing the cost of creating and maintaining jobs. This proposal For our creative industries, we will press for the BBC in will particularly benefit smaller businesses with over Scotland to receive a fairer share of licence fee revenue 95% of the support going to smaller firms.
12 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 geographic imbalances are increasing at a worrying rate, Getting more people into well-paid and with an increasing imbalance between London, and the rewarding work south-east, and the rest of the UK. The SNP will use its influence at Westminster to deliver key economic advantages for Scotland. SNP MPs will seek to rebalance the UK for the benefit Our proposals include: of people in the north and west of these isles. We • An increase in the minimum wage to £8.70 believe that investment in so-called “national” projects in by 2020. London, should be subject to normal consequential • Easier access to finance for growing Scottish funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and companies through the Scottish Business that the North of England, in particular, should see Development Bank a significant increase in infrastructure expenditure. • A boost for Scotland’s tourism and hospitality Alongside the development of High Speed Rail from sectors with plans for a reduction in Air London to the Midlands, we will seek a commitment to Passenger Duty deliver High Speed Rail between Glasgow, Edinburgh and • More spending in local economies with an the north of England as the first stage of a link increased minimum wage and lower National connecting Scotland and the north of England to Insurance costs for companies to help create jobs London. High Speed Rail should be constructed both • A £100 million investment in jobs in the creative from the north down and from the south up. sector with BBC Scotland receiving a fairer share We will support Scotland’s city authorities with of the licence fee. proposals for new City Deals – like the one already • Increased investment in infrastructure as part of agreed with Glasgow and Clyde Valley – and will our alternative to the failed UK austerity agenda seek the creation of a £300 million Scottish Cities Fund, and similar Northern Cities and Welsh Cities funds, We believe that public sector organisations should be to ensure adequate resources are available to support able to bid to operate rail services, as allowed in EU law the growth of major urban centres in the north and west but currently prevented by UK legislation. This would of the UK. While a strong London is good for the UK, also enable us to ensure the delivery of rail services in having a strong Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Cardiff, Scotland that deliver maximum economic and Newcastle and Leeds is even better. social benefit. A government that works for all the country The SNP will also aim to right a long-term economic One of the greatest indictments of the current injustice, by ensuring that a share of future oil and gas Westminster system is that it works best for one part and renewable energy revenues are used to create a of society and one part of the country. Social and Sovereign Wealth Fund. The current UK government has
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 13 conceded the principle by proposing a natural resource fund for the benefit of the North of England. The fund The rural economy should be established when economic circumstances The Scottish Government has prioritised Scotland’s rural economy and is working to strengthen our rural allow and should come under the ownership and and remote communities. This includes measures such as management of the Scottish Parliament and Road Equivalent Tariff, a focus on the promotion of Government. our food and drink sector and key infrastructure investment such as the dualling of the A9. We will look to boost Scotland’s rural economy by pressing for a fair share of the UK’s CAP convergence At Westminster, SNP MPs will seek the same level uplift, which comes to the UK as a result of Scotland’s of commitment to our rural industries and communities. In particular, we will scrutinise UK low hectare rates. government actions at an EU level to ensure that our farming and fishing industries receive full backing and support. Other measures, proposed in this manifesto, that will be of particular benefit to our rural economy and rural communities are: • Protection of the Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation, the maintenance of the 30 per cent government share of Royal Mail in order to protect the public interest and, over time, the return of the Royal Mail to public ownership. • The introduction of a Universal Service Obligation for broadband services • Increased investment in 4G • Taking forward Scotland’s £1.3 billion rural development programme • Action at an EU level to deliver a simplified CAP • Work to ensure the discard ban is workable for our fishing fleet • Our commitment to ensure coastal communities benefit from the net income of the Crown Estate’s seabed leasing revenues • Pressing for a fair deal on fuel prices for rural areas • The full devolution of all food levies so we can support the promotion of Scotland’s food and drink
14 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 A FAIRER SOCIETY Alongside this, we will back proposals to return the top rate of income tax in the UK to 50p. We support a levy An economy that works for the many on tobacco firms and would also support proposals for We will firmly oppose, and seek to reverse, the growing a specific tax on properties valued at over £2 million, inequality in UK society – inequality that acts as a increases to the bank levy, a banker’s bonus tax and dampener on growth and limits opportunity for people a review of the pension tax relief available to the in communities across the country. That is why we must wealthiest. We would also call on the UK government create a fair wage economy, with higher wages for to move forward cautiously with plans to increase the those on low and middle earnings translating into higher rate threshold to £50,000, ensuring first that tax increased revenues for the Exchequer. Underpinning this revenues are sufficiently buoyant. is our belief that everyone should have the opportunity of a good life in return for their effort and hard work. We will look to ensure the public interest is fully protected in any future disposal of RBS and Lloyds Increasing the minimum wage and expanding the shares, including decisions on how any windfall living wage will help deliver both a strong economy revenues should be used. and a fairer society. Instead of the current, failed Westminster approach, which is based on the false belief A tax system that works better that the fruits of economic growth ‘trickle down’, we It’s clear that action needs to be taken to ensure believe that increasing the incomes of those lower down we have a tax system that is fit for the 21st century. the income scale will deliver a more direct benefit for our economy, as well as improving quality of life for We will back measures to tackle tax avoidance, hard-pressed households. including early legislation to address tax dodging and an increase in staff resources at HMRC. This alternative approach sees all our citizens as valued contributors to society, with the impact of higher We will put forward measures to strengthen anti- disposable incomes felt most significantly in local avoidance law across the UK to ensure it is as economies and our thousands of small and medium strong as new Scottish legislation. sized businesses, as well as in higher revenues. We will also support a review of controlled foreign We also propose different spending and taxation companies exemptions and favour a rolling review priorities. At a time when thousands of our citizens are of tax reliefs as part of an ongoing programme of forced to use food banks, there can be no doubt that simplification of the tax system. spending billions on a new generation of nuclear weapons is unjustifiable. A vote for the SNP is a vote to We support calls for a global fair tax summit to halt progress on Trident renewal, delivering a saving of agree international measures to tackle tax abuses. £100 billion over the next 35 years.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 15 More support for hard-pressed households each year in line with inflation, wages or by 2.5 per Using the current powers of devolution, the SNP Scottish cent, whichever is higher. And, we will support for a Government has taken forward policies designed to Single Tier Pension rate of £160 per week. support households through the recession. For example, we have frozen the Council Tax, removed prescription We will oppose the abolition of Savings Credit – charges and road tolls, increased free nursery provision, introduced to reward people for saving for their pension. provided free school meals in the early years of primary We believe that there should be a review of plans to school and reintroduced free university education. increase the state pension age beyond 66. And, given Scotland’s colder climate, we will also resist any attempts Taken together, these measures have saved people to end the winter fuel allowance. across Scotland hundreds of pounds. That includes pensioners saving an average £250 a year from We will continue to support the roll out of auto concessionary travel or people with long term illnesses enrolment for occupational pensions and also back, in an average of £104 on prescription charges. A vote for principle, proposals to give pensioners more flexibility over their pension pots. However, we must ensure the SNP in May is a vote to protect these gains. adequate levels of advice and support. We will work As well as certainty on Council Tax bills, we have also with pensioner groups to identify and target unfair, placed limits on increases in rail fares and water charges. hidden pension charges. Through tough and effective regulation of Scottish Water we’ve been able to deliver real-terms cuts in water bills. Fairness in the welfare system In the same way we wish to see a more robust approach Westminster has presided over a relentless undermining to energy bills and believe Ofgem should be of our social security system. The SNP is determined to empowered to enforce price reductions to reflect lower target the worst and most damaging welfare changes wholesale costs as a result of lower oil prices. introduced by the current government and to address Consumers must see the benefit of lower wholesale issues such as zero-hour contracts, which create costs in their bills, with savings of as much as £100 a unacceptable levels of uncertainty and financial year. The Scottish Government and UK government insecurity for often low paid workers. should have joint oversight of Ofgem. We will support efforts in the next parliament to end A fair deal for older Scots unfair and exploitative zero-hour contracts, with a We will continue to support older Scots, by retaining key time-limited consultation, which fully involves businesses policies such as the free bus pass and free personal care and the trade unions, to agree the most effective way forward. and we’ll back the continuation of the free TV license. SNP MPs will vote for the complete abolition of the At Westminster, we will call for the pension triple lock bedroom tax. This will mean that the £35 million that the to be retained, ensuring the State Pension increases Scottish Government spends on mitigating its impact will
16 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 be available for other purposes. We would invest excessive or blanket measures which penalise those that money to tackle - and eventually eradicate - looking for work. The removal of cash benefits should food poverty. be a last, rather than a first, resort. We also back increases of at least the cost of living in We will support an increase in Carers' Allowance so that welfare benefits and believe the roll out of both Personal it matches Jobseekers' Allowance. Those in receipt of Independence Payments (PIP) and Universal Credit Carers' Allowance will benefit by almost £600 per year. should be halted. We will aim to reverse the We will also press for the introduction, in Scotland, of replacement of Disability Living Allowance with PIP. We a pilot programme of carer’s leave. will also oppose the £3 billion cut in disability support. In addition, we have given assurances to people already We will not support attempts to restrict housing benefit supported by the Independent Living Fund that support for 18 to 21 year olds and believe exemptions to the will continue. We will also support an urgent review of Shared Accommodation Rate should be extended, for the system of assessments for disability benefits. example, to cover all ages. The current tapers for Universal Credit have been set too We believe that those who have been injured in the low, which means claimants will still be caught in the service of our country should get the full value of any benefits trap, with clear financial disincentives in place for war disablement pension and so will ensure that it is not work. We believe there should be an increase in the treated as income in the assessment of entitlement to work allowance, to deliver a significant boost to the other benefits. incomes of people moving into work, helping to lift them and their families out of poverty. We will also Ending fuel poverty has also been a key campaign for support an overhaul of the Work Capability the SNP at Westminster for decades. In this next Assessments. These are still delivering too many poor Parliament, we will seek action to ensure that those decisions, which are overturned on appeal, creating real using pre-payment meters have access to the same hardship for households. lower energy prices available to those using other payment methods. We will demand an urgent review of the conditionality and sanctions regime, in order to deliver We will also press the UK government to ensure that an overhaul of the current, deeply ineffective pensioners whose homes are ‘off grid’ receive their arrangements, which impact on some of the most winter fuel allowances earlier, so they can take vulnerable in our society. The review will take particular advantage of lower prices earlier in the year. account of the needs of people with mental health issues. We will seek to establish an approach that is proportionate and ethical, that recognises the particular challenges facing some individuals, and that avoids
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 17 A STRONGER SOCIETY Caring about climate change, our environment and the natural world This election is an opportunity for Scotland to have real influence to deliver important gains and protections. CARBON REDUCTION We will use our influence at Westminster to ensure the On a wide range of issues, Scottish values and priorities UK matches, and supports, Scotland’s ambitious can carry real weight at Westminster. commitments to carbon reduction and that both Scotland and the UK are able to play a constructive role Working in partnership at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference. And, we We will press the UK government to work with the will call on the UK government to match the approach of business community on mechanisms to formalise the Scottish Government with a dedicated Climate the relationship between government, employer Justice Fund. associations and employee associations with a particular focus on encouraging wider trade union participation RENEWABLE & COMMUNITY ENERGY and recognising the positive role that can be played We will seek to maximise support for offshore wind, by collective bargaining in improving labour including by seeking alterations to the current Contracts market conditions. for Differences (CFD) regime to ensure that support is given to the offshore wind sector to not only generate Evidence from the OECD shows that stronger trade renewable energy but also to boost manufacturing unions tend to reduce inequality in labour income and opportunities and ensure Scotland sees maximum ensure a more equal distribution of earnings. We investment. Allocations from the next round of CFD support increased employee representation on company should be made early and projects in Scotland should be boards, believing that this can help bolster long-term prioritised and receive their fair share of funding. We decision-making and improve industrial relations. We want to see a long-term commitment to the will urge the UK government to consult on how best to development of this industry. deliver such an increase. We will continue to argue for changes to ensure that We will seek to reverse recent changes, which reduced key aspects of workers’ rights. For example, we will Scottish renewables, and Scotland’s islands, are not press for the restoration of a 90 days consultation period penalised because of their distance from markets in the for redundancies affecting 100 or more employees. south of England. We believe that transmission arrangements should work to support, rather than In addition, we will also oppose Tory plans to further undermine, production of renewable energy in the most restrict the right to strike and support trade unions with favourable locations. their proposals to modernise the way strike ballots are undertaken, with safe and secure online voting to And we will press for onshore wind to continue to receive maximise participation. support through the lifetime of the next Parliament.
18 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Our ambition is not limited to wind. We want the UK provides untold benefits, socially, culturally and government to remove barriers that are limiting growth economically. That is why we must do all we can to in the hydro sector and believe there should be prevent increasingly insular attitudes at Westminster additional support for pump hydro and Carbon Capture from shutting Scotland off from the world. and Storage schemes. Backing the Scottish Government’s international strategy We also wish to see a big expansion in community The Scottish Government’s international strategy is heating schemes and believe the Renewable Heat based on three core elements - participation, promotion Incentive should continue beyond 2015. and protection - and these will be central to our approach at Westminster. The Scottish Government has ambitious targets to support community energy generation and we will press We expect the UK government to participate fully in international institutions, to respect their role and to the UK government to make it simpler for communities work with them. This includes the UK fulfilling all its to establish local energy companies and easier for international obligations. community schemes to access the grid. The UK’s standing in the world has been damaged SPECIES PROTECTION by our involvement in the illegal war in Iraq. We wish While responsibility for animal welfare is devolved to to see proper oversight and approval for any future UK the Scottish Parliament –and the SNP in government military action, which would need to be in accordance is already working to improve the conditions of kept with the principles of the UN Charter and approved animals, including consultations on responsible dog by Parliament. ownership and wild animals in travelling circuses, and giving consideration to further protection at slaughter, We will call on the next UK government to pursue a two the registration or licensing of horse establishments and state solution for Israel and Palestine and to support the a review of tail docking in working dogs - at Westminster formal recognition of a Palestinian state. we will support further animal welfare measures with a global focus. This includes action to end the illegal MAKING THE EU WORK BETTER FOR SCOTLAND ivory trade and protect species such as polar bears The European Union is far from perfect, however we and bluefin tuna. believe that it is overwhelmingly in Scotland’s interests for us to remain a member, engaging with the Our place in the world institutions as fully as we can, and to argue for reform from within. Scotland is an outward looking nation. We have family in all parts of the world and our society has been We will oppose UK withdrawal from the EU and will strengthened, over generations, by new Scots arriving propose that, in any future referendum there should be from across the globe. This is part of who we are and a double majority requirement. Each of the four
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 19 constituent nations of the UK would have to vote for As part of a commitment to focus on aid quality, we withdrawal before the UK as a whole could leave the believe that overseas aid funding should not be used for European Union. defence related expenditure and should not undermine public services in developing countries. We believe there should be a greater role for devolved administrations in the Council of Ministers and more And, we are in favour of an audit of outstanding debt direct engagement in devolved policy areas, across the owed by developing countries, with debt relief provided full range of European institutions. as appropriate. We will seek a Cooperation Agreement between the UK SNP MPs will also make the case for the establishment of a government and devolved administrations, which will special envoy - a diplomatic post within the Foreign Office - include formal agreement on speaking rights for Scottish to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the ministers and direct Scottish input into the development word, as an integral part of UK foreign policy. of UK policy on key EU issues. Defence that works for the people of Scotland We support free movement within the EU and recognise both the contribution EU citizens make to Scottish STRATEGIC DEFENCE AND SECURITY REVIEW society and the opportunities created for Scottish citizens As a northern European nation, our near neighbourhood elsewhere in the EU. We also support Scottish including the High North and Arctic are a key priority for participation in the European Arrest warrant, a measure Scotland. The forthcoming UK Strategic Defence and that makes it easier to bring to justice criminals who Security Review (SDSR) must take full account of the have fled to other EU jurisdictions. particular challenges and opportunities of the northern regional dimension, and of the need to be more We will also seek an explicit exemption for the NHS and Scottish Water, as part of a general public sector effective at combatting cyber-terrorism where the SDSR exemption, from the terms of the proposed Trans- must lay out a clear strategy, including continued Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. engagement with the Scottish Government. A FOCUS ON INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND PEACE The SDSR must review the current Ministry of Defence Today, Scottish international aid investment is making a record, which includes falsely inflating spending big difference to thousands of lives in some of the commitments, mismanaging Army personnel reforms world’s most disadvantaged communities. We have long and creating dangerous capability gaps. supported the United Nations target to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on international In particular, we believe there should be ocean going development and will continue to support UK spending conventional patrol vessels based permanently in at this level – which must be calculated on current, not Scotland and will seek the early procurement of multi- former, measurements of GNI. role Maritime Patrol Aircraft purchased ‘off the shelf’
20 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 by the end of this parliament and operating from enterprises in Scotland are part of the manufacturing Scotland. The SDSR must also fully consider the support chain for major defence projects. advantages of a defence policy without weapons of mass destruction and wasting £100bn renewing Trident. We The Type 26 frigates must be built in Scotland and will continue in our principled opposition to nuclear the Aircraft Carriers refitted at Rosyth. weapons and believe that the UK should abandon plans to renew the Trident nuclear missile system. In addition, LOOKING AFTER OUR SERVICE PERSONNEL The duty of care to our service personnel, veterans and the MoD should also publish in full current and their families must be a key priority. The MoD should projected annual costs of the Trident system and its provide much better support to next of kin and proposed successor programme, including nuclear bereaved families in the event of a loss of a weapons through-life costs. serving relative. THE CONVENTIONAL DEFENCE FOOTPRINT As a matter of safety, we believe a collision warning UK policy has seen reductions in conventional footprint system should be installed on Tornado and Typhoon in Scotland, leading to a significant underspend, aircraft as quickly as possible. meaning fewer jobs and less defence related spending to benefit local economies. Existing conventional bases in We also support giving Armed Forces representative Scotland should be retained and all conventional re- bodies a statutory footing. basing activities should be completed by the end of this parliament. There should be no further erosion of the New powers to protect our communities Scottish regiments and it remains our ambition to see the traditional regiments restored. There is no doubt that Fixed Odds Betting Terminals cause harm and hardship in communities across DEFENCE SPENDING Scotland. That’s why the Scottish Government needs We support greater transparency in UK defence legislative powers to control the growth and impact of these machines, and we believe the UK government spending, with a full breakdown of spending by nation should devolve these powers in full. The problem of and region in the UK, including all procurement and SME Fixed Odds Betting Terminals is linked to the proliferation expenditure and a full breakdown of component costs of betting shops in some communities and so we will of all major projects by location. continue to argue for Scotland to have full responsibility for the regulation of gambling. With taxpayers in Scotland contributing billions of pounds more than the MOD currently spends in We will also seek new powers so we can effectively Scotland we believe that a far larger proportion of regulate payday lenders in Scotland’s communities, the defence procurement budget should be spent building on the recommendations of the Smith in Scotland. There should be a strategy developed by Commission and going beyond proposals set out so far the MOD to ensure more small and medium sized by the current UK government.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 21 Protecting personal data It should also be for the Scottish Government to decide which sporting events in Scotland should be included in We do not support Tory plans for the reintroduction of the list of those that are free to view in Scotland. the so-called ‘snoopers’ charter’, which would see all online activity of every person in the UK stored for a year. Regulation of print media is already devolved. The Instead, we need a proportionate response to Scottish Parliament chose, on a cross party basis, to extremism. That is why we will support targeted, and support the UK Government’s actions to implement properly overseen, measures to identify suspected Leveson. We will consider carefully the results of the first extremists and, if necessary, examine their online activity year review and work with other parties, in Scotland and and communications. at Westminster, to ensure effective regulation of the media on a non-political basis. A flourishing media environment and creative sector Safeguarding our land and seas We believe that responsibility for broadcasting in We wil press the UK government to reinstate an emergency Scotland should transfer from Westminster to the towing vehicle on the west coast of Scotland and to Scottish Parliament and we will support moves to more ensure that delays in recruitment don’t leave vital devolved arrangements for the BBC with greater powers coastguard stations understaffed. and funding for the different national and regional broadcasting areas, such as BBC Scotland. We will seek a commitment for the earliest possible return of the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre We believe that the licence fee should be retained with to Kinloss, so that search and rescue operations can be any replacement system, which should be based coordinated in Scotland. primarily on the ability to pay, in place by the end of the next BBC Charter period. BBC Scotland should receive a fairer share of BBC income, reflecting more accurately the licence fee revenue raised here in Scotland. This would provide a boost of over £100 million, which we believe will provide important new opportunities for production companies and the creative sector in Scotland. The Scottish Government and Parliament should have a substantial role at all stages in the review of the BBC Charter and we will work to ensure that any new governance arrangements for the BBC better reflect Scotland’s interests.
22 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 SORTING THE BROKEN WESTMINSTER SYSTEM Lobbying and charities We support strict rules on lobbying but believe that This election gives us a rare opportunity to begin to repair campaigning charities should be allowed straight- what is an increasingly broken political system in the UK. forward access and restrictions on their activities as We need to make clear to those who wield power that ‘non-party campaigners’ should be removed. they do so only with the consent of the people. Almost every aspect of the system needs an overhaul. elections. We believe 16 and 17 year olds should be given the vote in UK general and European elections That includes an effective power of recall for MPs. and will work with future governments to secure We will continue to work with others, across the this change political parties, to deliver a system that gives real power to voters to remove MPs who have forfeited Promoting equality and protecting human rights the trust of their electors. We also badly need a fair voting system for UK elections. Scotland’s new First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, has The electoral system means political focus is on the given a very clear signal of the need to have more equal interests of a small number of swing voters in marginal representation of men and women in public life. The seats, and that has meant the economic and social Scottish Cabinet is one of only three cabinets in the needs of areas like the north of England, Scotland, the developed world to have an equal number of men and West Midlands and Wales have been forgotten. women and, with the necessary powers devolved, we will take forward proposals to ensure 50 per cent female The SNP supports the Single Transferable Vote, a representation on public boards. system that makes sure every vote and every part of the country counts. We will press for the same step to be taken for UK wide public bodies and will also encourage the new Of course, the second chamber of the UK parliament is UK government to work with the private sector to not even elected and continues to have hereditary increase the number of women represented at the members who have a greater say in the future of most senior levels in our major companies. Scotland’s defence or welfare system than the elected We will support the tightening of the law on maternity members of the Scottish Parliament. The SNP believes the House of Lords should be scrapped and replaced discrimination, with legislation introduced within the first with a fully elected second chamber. year of a new UK government. Given the successful inclusion of 16 and 17 year olds in We have also called for early action on Equal Pay audits the independence vote the Scottish Parliament is for larger companies to ensure women are getting the legislating to ensure they also have the vote in Holyrood salaries they are entitled to. We will demand that section
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 23 Given the central place of human rights in Scotland’s VAT on sanitary products constitutional settlement, and their importance at the We are determined to ensure a fairer deal for heart of our politics, we will oppose scrapping the women, not only in the work place. That’s why Human Rights Act or withdrawal from the European we’ll address a longstanding failure in our tax Convention on Human Rights. system by demanding that VAT on sanitary products is removed. Sanitary products are a necessity, not a luxury, and should not be taxed. 78 of the Equalities Act 2010 is commenced and that regulations to compel employers of more than 250 people to publish annual gender pay gap information, starting in 2016-17, are consulted on and brought into law. With powers over equalities devolved, we would bring forward an Equal Pay (Scotland) Bill to finally deliver equal pay law that works for women in Scotland. It is unacceptable - 45 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970 - that the gender pay gap remains. This would include consultation on how new regulations or structures can be created by the Bill to expedite the equal pay claims process, and ensure that settlements are enforced quickly. We will seek to maintain the protections provided by the Equality Act 2010 and will ask the government to engage with key stakeholders on potential improvements. We will also support calls to establish a Race Committee to advise the work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In addition, we will ask the UK government to conduct an early review of the current immigration detention system and regime, in order to deliver a fairer and more effective system as we move forward.
24 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 BACKING THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT Working for a healthier Scotland Too often in recent years, decisions by governments at Since the election of the SNP government in 2007: Westminster have undermined the ability of the Scottish • There has been an increase of over 2,300 nurses Government to deliver as much as it would wish. This and midwives in Scotland and 2,350 doctors has included budget cuts as a result of austerity, • More than 320 extra GPs work in our questionable application of the Barnett Formula and communities and there are almost 1,350 more long delays in giving approval for Scottish Government consultants providing specialist care in our NHS, proposals, for example the mechanism to mitigate the including a 170 per cent increase in A&E Bedroom Tax in Scotland. consultants • We’ve seen an 8.8 per cent increase in the A strong team of SNP MPs at Westminster can do more number of paramedics while the number of to ensure that the UK government is not standing in the senior managers in the NHS is down 29 per cent. way of progress for Scotland. We’ve protected NHS spending against Westminster austerity – and we will argue for Protecting a strong record of delivery increases in health spending across the UK of At the heart of this manifesto is our commitment to £9.5 billion above inflation by 2020-21 - £24 move away from the damaging austerity agenda of the billion in total. This will deliver a total increase current UK government, so that we can protect for NHS Scotland of £2 billion by 2020-21. Scotland’s public services from future Tory cuts and protect the progress that has been delivered by tens of high number of school leavers in either work, training or thousands of dedicated public sector staff. further or higher education. The number of P1 pupils in Scotland taught in classes of more than 25 has fallen to In health, with the SNP, the number of staff working in just 451 this year – 97 per cent lower than the 16,845 Scotland’s NHS has risen to a record high, with over children recorded in 2006. And the proportion of schools 10,000 more people now working in the NHS. These reported as being in ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’ condition has staff have delivered shorter waiting times, including in increased again, to 83 per cent – up from 61 per cent in vitally important areas such as cancer treatment. While April 2007. That means the number of pupils in poor or there is still work to do, the number of people starting bad buildings has more than halved since 2007. treatment for cancer within 62 days of referral has risen from 84.5 per cent in 2007 to 94.2 per cent. Nearly two- And in our communities people are feeling safer. The thirds of people in Scotland now say they are satisfied crime clear up rate is the highest since comparable with our health service, according to the most recent records began in 1976 and recorded crime has fallen for survey, compared to just two-fifths in 2005. the seventh year in a row and is now at its lowest level for 40 years. We’ve also acted to tackle the scourge of In our schools, against every main measure, education is knife crime. The average prison sentence for handling getting better. We have record exam results and record an offensive weapon in Scotland is now three times
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 25 Education – an investment in all our futures Safer streets and safer communities Under the SNP Government at Holyrood: We’ve rejected the approach adopted elsewhere in • Tuition fees have been scrapped – and more the UK and chosen to maintain investment in young people than ever before are going to 1,000 extra police, enabling Police Scotland to university deliver record low crime rates: • We’ve introduced the new Curriculum for • Recorded crime in Scotland is at its lowest Excellence and invested in new school buildings level in 40 years, and the number of homicides so more of our children can enjoy the best has halved since 2007. possible learning environment • The clear-up rate for recorded crimes is at its • Pass rates for Higher exams have reached record highest since 1976, when comparable records levels, with children sitting the new National began. exams for the first time last year. • Re-offending rates have fallen over the last • And we’ve launched a £100 million Attainment decade, with a 17 per cent drop in the average Scotland Fund to support primary school pupils number of re-convictions per offender. in some of our most disadvantaged areas SNP MPs will press for the revenue from court • There are 25,000 apprenticeships available fines to be retained in Scotland and for Police every year – and we have pledged to increase Scotland and our Fire and Rescue Service to this to 30,000 by 2020. receive the same VAT exemption as other forces, with the money reinvested in safer communities. higher than in 2004-05. Crimes of handling an offensive weapon (including knives) have reduced by 62 per cent Government to continue to deliver the high-quality since 2006-07. services people in Scotland expect. The biggest threat to this progress is another swathe of And it is a path that will enable us to build on the Westminster inspired austerity cuts, which could have a continuing economic recovery. Over the past 12 months devastating impact on services across the country. Over around 46,000 more people are in work. That includes, half of the total planned cuts are still to come over the in recent months, a record high number of women in course of the next UK Parliament. employment in Scotland. And youth unemployment is at a five year low. Two in every five business properties If we don’t act now to end Tory austerity, Scotland’s across Scotland benefit from zero or reduced rates cumulative share of the proposed real-terms cuts over through the Small Business Bonus Scheme alone, the next five years is estimated at around £12 billion - supporting local job creators, and the latest figures £2300 for every person in Scotland. That is why this show inward investment at a 17-year high. Overall, election is so important, so we can choose a different our business rates relief packages benefit around path forward, which enables the SNP Scottish 100,000 companies.
26 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 But there is much more we can achieve and SNP MPs in by 2020, having already exceeded our current target the House of Commons will work with SNP ministers in of 25,000 per year. Our aim is to reduce youth the Scottish Government to ensure that we continue to unemployment by 40 percent by 2021. make progress as a society and economy, across all three of the Scottish Government’s priority areas: We believe that the more we can integrate skills and employment policy, with an extension of powers for the Creating more, better paid jobs in a strong, Scottish Parliament, the more we can achieve for people joining the jobs market. That includes the prompt sustainable economy devolution of the Work Programme and Work Choice. Our ambition is for a stronger Scottish economy, with the fruits of economic success shared more widely. We have We will also keep university education in Scotland free set out our plans to deliver higher levels of sustainable and have increased the minimum income for our economic growth through the Scottish Government’s poorest students to £7,500 this year. refreshed Economic Strategy. This includes proposals to boost Scotland’s competitiveness, reduce levels of We are also investing to support Scotland’s job creators. inequality and increase productivity. Through initiatives like the Scottish Business Development Bank we want to find ways of improving Our aim is to match the productivity levels of the most access to finance for growing businesses and we will use successful economies in Europe. We also want Scotland the influence we have at Westminster to secure to be in the top quarter of OECD countries in terms of additional funds so we can further increase support for wellbeing, sustainability and equality. This includes Scottish companies. narrowing the economic gap between the different regions of Scotland. We are determined to maintain Scotland's position as We are focused on four key themes – Investment, the best place to do business in the UK with a package of Innovation, Inclusive Growth and Internationalisation. business rates relief worth an estimated £594 million for 2014-15 and £618 million for 2015-16 – supporting around We know that building a high-skill, connected Scotland is 100,000 businesses across the country. essential if we are to maximise our nation’s economic potential. That is why we are investing in our people, And we will continue to maximise investment in our infrastructure and assets, for example, by working to nation’s infrastructure, using both capital spending, widen access to higher education. new borrowing powers and a range of innovative finance mechanisms. In government, we have adopted New skills provide a route into rewarding, fulfilling an ‘all-Scotland’ approach, with key infrastructure employment. Our approach will see 30,000 new projects across the country to ensure the fruits of Modern Apprenticeship opportunities every year economic opportunity are shared as widely as possible.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 27 Projects include the A9, Aberdeen to Inverness rail line, the Aberdeen by-pass, the Borders Railway, the Supporting Scottish business completion of the Glasgow-Edinburgh rail improvements We have been working hard to help Scottish and the Dundee Waterfront project. business succeed, including: • Delivering the most competitive business tax In addition, we are supporting our construction sector by providing £30 million of ring-fenced support for environment anywhere in the UK through our smaller developers within the Help to Buy Scotland business rates policies, and the package of scheme. We will also invest £70 million over the next business rates reliefs worth an estimated £618 year in the Open Market Shared Equity Scheme to help million in 2015-16. first-time buyers, with low or moderate incomes, on to • Maintaining the Small Business Bonus Scheme the property ladder. which removes or reduces rates for almost 100,000 businesses. Our aim is to foster a culture of Innovation. In • We’re helping business get access to finance government that means establishing a new Ministerial- through the Scottish Loan Fund and the Scottish led Innovation Forum and supporting the network of Innovation Centres, so that we can ensure effective Investment Bank and we are providing advisory knowledge and innovation transfer from our academic support through Scottish Enterprise, Highlands research base into the wider business community. and Islands Enterprise and Business Gateway to This approach includes a £1 million Innovation help companies improve their chances of Challenge Fund to help address major societal and securing funding. industrial challenges. • Promoting a culture of entrepreneurial ambition and innovation in Scotland by supporting We are supporting international collaboration by piloting Innovation and Investment Hubs at key global locations ambitious collaborations between universities, and are also promoting innovation in, and through, the businesses and others to capitalise on Scotland’s public sector as a means of getting the most out of world-class research including through a public expenditure across the economy. network of eight Innovation Centres. We recognise and applaud the vital part played by our • And, we’re working to encourage more Scottish universities in creating world-leading research, including companies to become active exporters with in areas of cutting-edge science and technology, and boosting both Scotland’s international profile and Scottish Development International working with innovation base. We will continue to work closely partners to support up to 10,000 more with our universities to maintain their position of businesses develop the skills to go international. global excellence.
28 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Our plans are centred on the idea of Inclusive Growth. Government’s public sector pay policy. SNP MPs will press We want more people in Scotland to share in the fruits for the UK government to adopt this policy across the UK. of economic growth. We know that fair pay is an important part of creating a We are determined to deliver improvements in fairer society and so will use the powers and influence educational outcomes in Scotland’s most disadvantaged we have to further promote the living wage across the communities, which is why we have announced our private sector. SNP MPs will work with Scottish ministers £100 million Attainment Scotland Fund. to help ensure 500 organisations are signed up to the By establishing a Fair Work Convention we aim to draw Living Wage Accreditation Scheme within the next year, on and promote best practice, while making it easier to by becoming local living wage champions in their work effectively with our partners across the business constituency. And through guidance on procurement, community, third sector and trade unions. the SNP will work to ensure all suppliers to the Scottish As Scotland’s government, we will continue to work Government also pay the living wage. closely with Scottish businesses to increase our country’s competitiveness and make the most of the underlying Our economic strategy is designed to ensure that strengths in Scotland’s economy so we can deliver Scotland can take more advantage of international higher levels of growth. As part of this partnership, SNP opportunities. In government, we are developing a new ministers have developed a Scottish Business Pledge Trade and Investment Strategy and will establish One because we know that a stronger economy emerges Scotland Partnerships. These will set clear trade and from a stronger society. The business pledge includes innovation goals for specific international markets and commitments to pay the living wage, not use ensure that activity is coordinated to maximise impact. exploitative zero-hour contracts and to take forward a Our updated International Framework will set the programme of innovation. In return, the Scottish context for how the Scottish Government, its agencies Government will provide targeted support and advice to and public bodies engage most effectively worldwide help companies export, grow, innovate and become to promote Scotland for the benefit of our economy more productive. and to increase trade and investment opportunities. The greater share people have in economic growth, the 330,000 Scottish jobs depend on membership of the more they will contribute to Scotland’s economic success and so we want a national endeavour, involving our EU single market. SNP MPs will vote against an in/out business community at its core, so we can create the EU referendum. However, if there is to be a referendum, wealth and share that wealth more fairly than under the we will seek to amend the legislation to insert a 'double Westminster model majority' rule - unless each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the UK as We will also continue our support for the living wage, a whole, voted to exit the EU, the UK would remain ensuring it is paid to all staff covered by the Scottish a member state
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 29 Building a fairer Scotland and tackling inequality. further support for carers and young carers. Of course, The past year has shown there is a real demand for a there is so much more we could achieve with more new Scotland, where more of us can contribute fully. extensive powers over welfare. Our approach in government, with its focus on early intervention, is putting in place the firm foundations for The Scotland we all seek is one where our most future success by giving more young Scots the best important public services are protected. In the face of possible start in life. new UK cuts, we remain absolutely committed to the Scottish health service. In this manifesto we propose big We are determined to invest as much as we can in a increases in spending on health across the UK, which would deliver an additional £2 billion for Scotland’s NHS. brighter future for our young people. That includes our current commitment to 600 hours of childcare for over As Scotland’s government, we will continue to pass on 120,000 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. In the any new Barnett consequentials from health spending in coming years, we will build on this to almost double England. Our support for the NHS has been shown this the number of free hours to 30 hours a week of free year by the £383 million increase in health resource childcare by the end of the next Scottish Parliament spending, bringing it to record levels. As a result, each for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. and every one of Scotland’s health boards will receive above inflation spending increases next year. In government, we are providing £104 million in 2015-16 to protect as many people as possible from the We have taken steps to reduce consumption of alcohol damaging impact of the welfare reforms being and tobacco and to promote a more active lifestyle imposed by Westminster. That includes mitigation of through sport. We have also worked hard to remove the Bedroom Tax and the Council Tax reduction scheme, financial barriers to treatment and care. Free which has protected 500,000 of Scotland’s lowest prescriptions and the commitment to continue free income households from increased Council Tax. personal care for the elderly are an important part of delivering a healthier Scotland, and the SNP will maintain The Council Tax freeze has also helped hard-pressed these vital policies. households – by 2016 the freeze will have saved We will also continue with an ambitious programme of households an average of £1,200, with those on low health and social care integration, ensuring that health incomes seeing the biggest savings as a proportion of their and social care provision across Scotland is joined-up and household income. We are committed to maintaining provides a seamless service, especially for people with the Council Tax freeze, as set out in our 2011 election long-term conditions and disabilities. This includes £300 manifesto, and will work with others to review options million over the next three years for the Integrated Care for future replacement for the unfair council tax system. Fund and £30 million for telehealth. We are creating a statutory basis for a permanent local This is additional investment that will support welfare safety net and will, through a Carers Bill, provide integration, meaning better local primary, community
30 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 and care services to help keep people safe in their own part of this, but we are also working to improve the homes for as long as possible. learning environment and to remove barriers to education for our youngest pupils and for those entering We’ve already committed £15 million to a mental health higher and further education. innovation fund and, as part of our proposals for higher health spending, will seek to increase this investment to Our decision to introduce free school meals for all pupils £100 million over the next 5 years. Resources will be in primary 1 to 3 is providing a welcome boost to the directed towards projects that will improve mental wellbeing of thousands of children, boosting their health treatments in the primary care sector. The fund capacity to learn and helping to reduce educational will also enable further investment in child and inequalities. It is also saving thousands of families, many adolescent mental health services. Scotland was the first on low incomes, over £300 each year. country in the UK to introduce waiting time targets for these services, and we have increased the workforce by Our school building programme will continue, so we can 45 per cent. further improve the teaching and learning environment. So far we have seen 526 schools rebuilt or refurnished We are also investing a further £100 million over the under the SNP - almost 200 more than were delivered in next 3 years to help tackle delayed discharges in our the eight years of Labour and the Lib-Dems. Through our hospitals. This will ensure more spaces are available for £1.8 billion Schools for the Future programme we will hospital admissions and enable boards and local continue to invest, delivering almost 100 more new councils to deliver quality care for people where they and improved buildings by 2020, on top of projects live. Our plans also include an extra £40 million for delivered through capital expenditure by local councils. new medicines. We will deliver increased investment in the year ahead We will invest more in specialist nursing care, with a to fund an additional 250 teacher training places - the commitment to new spending of £2.5 million, with the fourth year in a row we have delivered an increase. And first allocation going to support patients with motor- we are providing additional resources to local councils to neurone disease. We also support calls to double maintain teacher numbers. research funding across the UK to find a cure for motor- Our new Education (Scotland) Bill will focus on ways we neurone disease, with Scotland well placed to play a can improve attainment, especially among Scotland’s central role in taking forward new research in this area. most disadvantaged children. Councils will have a statutory duty to narrow the attainment gap. The Bill Our approach to education is based on giving our young includes a range of other measures, including steps people the skills they need to flourish, now and in later to ensure all teachers are appropriately trained life. The introduction of Curriculum for Excellence is a big and qualified.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 31 It will also focus on Gaelic education by placing a duty on councils to assess the need for Gaelic medium Mitigating welfare changes primary education following a parental request. As part The Scottish Government has been working to of our ongoing support for Gaelic, we will ensure reduce the negative impact on households of UK funding for Bòrd na Gàidhlig is protected. welfare changes. The UK Social Fund is now delivered by the Scottish Government and provides We will also expand entitlement to the Educational Crisis Grants and also Community Care Grants to Maintenance Allowance (EMA) so that an extra 10,000 enable independent living. school pupils and 12,000 college students receive this important financial support, making it easier for them Following the abolition of Council Tax Benefit and continue their education. This will bring the number of the 10 percent reduction in funding made available young Scots receiving the EMA to 57,000. for its replacement, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s councils, working together, are providing We are proud to have delivered our unique Scottish £40 million to ensure that no household loses out Youth Guarantee, with a guaranteed offer of a place in as a result of the UK change. Over half a million training or education for all 16 to 19 year olds. That is households in Scotland have been protected from why we have seen an increase in full-time college places higher Council Tax bills. and have committed to an increase in the number of Modern Apprenticeship places to 30,000 each year. SNP We are also providing £35 million per year to MPs will press the UK to adopt the European Youth ensure over 70,000 Scottish households can be Guarantee to ensure faster intervention when a young protected from the damaging effects of the person aged 16 to 24 is unemployed. Westminster Bedroom Tax. Passing power to people and delivering proposes ways we can improve civic and community stronger communities. engagement and empowerment, including on the use Throughout the referendum campaign we said that of public assets. SNP MPs will seek ways of extending decisions about Scotland’s future should be taken by the the community asset transfer provisions of the legislation people who care most about Scotland, that is the people to include property in Scotland owned by UK who live here. That same broad principle should apply to government departments. decisions that most directly affect our local communities. We have also established a new Empowering Over these coming months, we will ensure progress of Communities Fund. It has an additional £10 million to the Community Empowerment Bill, which was allocate in this coming year – enabling us to support introduced to the Parliament earlier this year. The Bill over 200 community projects.
32 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 We are also committed to using public contracts to we will support businesses, the third sector and public deliver clear community benefits, including local sector organisations working to boost productivity by employment and training opportunities and support for using energy, materials and water more efficiently, so we community initiatives. can build a more resource efficient Scotland. This includes work to stimulate remanufacturing networks We will continue to take forward our partnership with and supply chains through the Scottish Institute of Scotland’s island communities as part of the ‘Our Remanufacturing, one of only four international centres Islands, Our Future’ project, with the clear intention of excellence. to devolve new powers and responsibilities to Scotland’s three main island groups. We will also work As the Scottish Government, we are consulting on with local authorities to ensure that our island and measures to reduce emissions in Scotland, including coastal communities see a direct benefit from the looking at the creation of Low Emission Zones. We will devolution of the Crown Estate, including full enjoyment continue to develop our zero waste strategy, supporting of net income from seabed leasing revenue. We believe a range of initiatives, for example the ongoing pilot that the natural wealth and resources of Scotland should project for reverse vending machines to encourage deliver clearer advantages for the people who live here. rewards for recycling. That includes one of our most valuable natural assets - We will use our influence at Westminster to ensure the our land. Our new Land Reform Bill will improve UK matches, and supports, Scotland’s ambitious transparency and accountability of land ownership commitments to carbon reduction and that we play a and ensure Scotland's land reform debate focuses on how positive role in the UN Climate Change conference in Scotland's land can be best managed in the public interest Paris. We will also look for the Bank of England to to ensure it is of benefit to all of the people of Scotland. continue its work on the potential impact of climate change on financial stability in the UK and report on how We are also working to support increased community it can best respond. ownership of local energy projects, for example, through In government we have made the promotion of Scotland’s our £20 million local energy challenge fund. This fund food and drink a key priority with a particular focus on provides support for projects from community groups, Scotland’s excellent produce as part of the 2015 Year of local councils and housing associations, among others, Food and Drink. We will continue to work on promoting with the aim of delivering 500MW of locally owned local food supply, including within the public sector. renewable generation by 2020. Our ambition is to achieve even more and we will explore ways of We will seek full devolved responsibility over all food increasing support for community generation. levies to support the promotion of food and drink, so we can build on a record that has seen growth in the sector As part of our focus on meeting our climate change in Scotland of 20.8 per cent compared to 8.6 per cent in targets and promoting sustainable economic growth, the UK.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 33 Given that our whisky industry is a key national and fishermen have access to the quota that they need, export industry, we remain committed to a Treasury rather than seeing them concentrated in the hands of review of alcohol taxation to better reflect alcohol those with the deepest pockets. We want to sustain content, while securing health benefits through jobs and find ways to support the entry of the next minimum pricing. generation of skippers. We are also taking forward the introduction of Scotland’s We will continue to work to ensure the discard ban is new rural development programme, which will provide implemented in a way that does not damage the crucial support for Scottish farming, food production, viability of the fleet and is workable for our fishermen. rural communities and the environment. The new Sensible implementation will deliver benefits for the fleet scheme is worth £1.3 billion over the next six years. We and consumers as we end the practice of dumping will continue to press for speedy European sign-off of perfectly good fish back into the sea. Scotland’s rural development programme and, in the Our aim is to grow and strengthen local economies, meantime, will continue to take action here in Scotland both urban and rural. By increasing the minimum wage to minimise any delay or disruption to payments. and supporting a fair wage economy we can increase the disposable income of low and middle-income SNP MPs will urge the UK government to work with the households, which will provide a direct boost to local European Commission to deliver a simplified CAP, in businesses, enabling them to grow. We are keen to see particular with a review of direct payments and spending increase, and profits remain, within local Greening, in line with proposals in the Brian Pack report communities so that more money is being circulated to reduce red tape. We will also continue to press the locally, generating jobs and opportunities for the benefit Agriculture Commissioner to ensure Scottish farmers get of all. That is why we remain fully committed to the clarity and certainty over the implementation Small Business Bonus and why we are expanding the arrangements for the new CAP. Social Entrepreneurs Fund, to encourage and support Fishing is a very important industry for Scotland’s community social enterprises. economy, with fishing, aquaculture and processing generating £690m and employing around 14,300 We also recognise the importance of improving access people. The SNP is working hard to increase revenues to the internet, especially for some of our more remote and profitability for the industry, with the deal secured or disadvantaged communities. In government we are at last December’s fisheries council adding around working to maximise the availability of high-speed £10 million to the value of Scotland's whitefish and broadband across Scotland and are also providing prawn stocks. funding of £1.5 million to increase free provision of Wi-Fi in public buildings. We are engaging with the industry on our review of fish quota management. We want to ensure quotas are Our aim is to deliver a future-proofed infrastructure that managed in the common interest, so that active will establish world-class digital connectivity across
34 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 Scotland by 2020, including tackling the digital divide. That is why we are investing in Superfast Broadband, so that at least 95 per cent of premises across Scotland will be able to access fibre broadband by the end of 2017. From the very first days of the SNP in government in Scotland we have been determined to make our streets safer and to give people greater confidence and security in their communities and in their homes. That’s why we invested in 1,000 extra police and why we are committed to retaining these extra police in our communities. With record low crime rates and big improvements in detection, we know this is a policy that is working. SNP MPs will join SNP ministers in pressing for all court fines income to be retained in Scotland so we can boost investment in crime reduction measures nationwide. We will also press for Police Scotland to have the same ability to save on VAT as other police forces across the UK, enabling Scotland’s police service to invest £23 million more in frontline services. The same VAT exemption should also apply to Scotland’s Fire and Rescue Service.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 35 DELIVERING HOME RULE FOR SCOTLAND We share the view of many organisations across Scotland that the package, as it stands, does not enable The SNP believes that decisions about Scotland’s future us to deliver fully either the greater social justice or the – about our economy and society – are best taken by powerhouse economy that our country demands. As the people of Scotland: the more powers we have in the STUC has said, “there is not enough” in the Smith Scotland the more we can achieve for the people who Commission recommendations “to empower the live here. Scottish Parliament to tackle inequality in Scotland". That is why we campaigned for a Scottish Parliament And, we agree with the Scottish Council of Voluntary and voted for the Scotland Act 1998. It is why we Organisations (SCVO) “that anything less than wholesale supported the limited extension of devolution in the devolution of welfare would be a real missed Scotland Act 2012, and called for a far more substantial opportunity to meet the needs of the most vulnerable package of powers at that point. people in our communities”. The same principle underpins our continued support for The Smith Commission proposals were, in many independence and was at the heart of our campaign for respects, a missed opportunity. Decisions about more a Yes vote in September 2014. than 70 per cent of Scottish taxes and 85 per cent of current UK welfare spending in Scotland will stay During the referendum, the parties campaigning for a No at Westminster. vote promised the people of Scotland substantial new powers for our parliament, amounting to real Home Instead of limited and unambitious proposals on tax Rule, maximum devolution and as close to federalism as was possible. It is our intention to hold them to that powers, we should have a greater ability to generate promise and the more SNP MPs elected in May, the economic growth, deliver more employment greater our ability to deliver the strong package of opportunities and support family incomes with the effective devolution that people in Scotland want and devolution of additional taxes. need to build a fairer and more prosperous country. Instead of leaving decisions on wages and employment We welcome the proposals set out in the Smith with Westminster, devolving these key areas to Scotland Commission, as far as they go. The further watering means we could ensure that people in Scotland receive down of the agreed proposals, by the UK government, is fair pay for a day’s work. We could bring together, more unacceptable. There should be no effective veto for UK effectively, skills development and employment support ministers on the exercise of the various new powers, in – enabling us to get more people into well-paid and particular over the welfare system. rewarding employment, closer to home.
36 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 And, instead of choices on most aspects of our welfare Proper economic powers would enable a fully cohesive system remaining at Westminster, the full devolution of industrial strategy focused on strengthening the welfare state would give us the ability to halt the manufacturing and boosting innovation, allowing us cruelest and most damaging welfare changes and to revitalise Scotland’s industries and rebalance instead develop a system that supports people and our economy. families in their time of need. Full control over social protection would allow the It is only with the more extensive devolution of welfare, Scottish Parliament to tailor a new and fairer welfare wages, taxation and the economy that we can deliver system for Scotland. For example, no Scottish greater prosperity for more of our citizens and for Government would have introduced the Bedroom Tax Scotland as a whole. in Scotland and, looking forward, we would be able to protect people from any future ideological attacks Powers for a Purpose from Westminster on the very essence of our social Our focus, therefore, will be securing specific new security system. economic and social powers, over and above those set out in the Smith Commission proposals, so we can tailor Devolving employment policy would allow us to take policy to make much more of the country’s strengths and progressive action on low pay in order to tackle poverty finally address the challenges that we face as a society. and inequality, with the power to raise the minimum wage, regardless of the political balance at Westminster, Scotland should have the opportunity to establish and we could more closely integrate skills and its own constitutional framework, including human employment policy to support people in their search for rights, equalities and the place of local government. rewarding work. The Scottish Parliament should also have the ability to directly represent its interests on devolved matters in the Securing Home Rule EU and internationally. We will use the influence of SNP votes at Westminster to ensure that the promises made to Scotland during the With more meaningful tax powers, we could provide referendum are delivered. more incentives and support for businesses to invest in Scotland and enter new markets overseas, We will demand, firstly, that the proposals of the Smith encouraging inward investment and boosting our Commission are delivered quickly and in full. international exports. We could also use targeted changes in business tax allowances to encourage higher However, we believe that the proposals of the Smith levels of investment in capital or Research & Commission do not go far enough to honour the Development, and encourage the growth of SMEs. promises made during the referendum.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 37 We will seek agreement that the Scottish Parliament should move to full financial responsibility. As implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the Scotland Act 2012 have demonstrated, the transition to full fiscal responsibility - and agreement of the detailed fiscal framework that would require to underpin it - would take a number of years to complete. SNP MPs will work with the Scottish Government to secure the best deal for Scotland in these negotiations. In the meantime, we will prioritise devolution of powers over employment policy, including the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy - the powers we need to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty. As we set out in our submission to the Smith Commission, the Barnett Formula should continue to be used to determine Scotland's resources during the transition to full fiscal responsibility and for as long as the Scottish Parliament's financial powers fall short of full responsibility.
38 SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY - MANIFESTO 2015 SCOTLAND’S OPPORTUNITY This General Election is an exciting opportunity for Scotland to have real power at Westminster. The SNP goes into this election with a clear message - none of us can afford more austerity. Our NHS, our economy and our children can't afford the billions of pounds of additional cuts that the Tories, Labour and Liberals have signed up to. And none of us can afford the £100 billion they plan to spend on new nuclear weapons. The Westminster parties have the wrong priorities. And it will be ordinary people across the UK who will pay the price. Unless you choose differently. Labour - alone - won't be bold enough to deliver the change ordinary people need. A big team of SNP MPs can force the pace of progressive change. We offer an alternative. A responsible plan for modest spending increases and real investment in the NHS, housing, childcare and jobs. An SNP vote on May 7th will be a vote to make Scotland's voice heard - loudly and clearly. But ours will also be a voice for a new, better and more progressive politics at Westminster - for everyone. Vote Polls open 7am – 10pm Thursday 7 May
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